TRANSCRIPT: ABTV Voltron February 25 Season Review with Showrunners in Studio

A complete transcript of the ABTV Voltron interview with Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery on February 25 2019 is under the cut.

@crystal-rebellion @voltronisruiningmylife @felixazrael @leakinghate

KC: The series is over, but we’re not quite done. We are the Afterbuzz TV Voltron: Legendary Defender after-show and we’re here to talk to you guys about season 8 as a whole. We’re gonna talk about character arcs. We’re gonna talk about the end of reality. We’re going to talk about some of our favorite moments, and we’re gonna talk about them with two very special guests. So let’s get this ball rolling and team, it’s time to form Voltron!

KC: Hello, everyone! Welcome back. We are the Afterbuzz TV Voltron: Legendary Defender after-show. This is the season 8 review. We are gonna talk about season 8 as a whole. We are going to have a grand old time doing it. I have with me a green lion, Megan Salinas.

MS: Hey, everybody!

KC: I’m black lion, Katie Cullen, and we have two wonderful, fantastic, returning guests that we are so thrilled to have in studio. Our showrunners: Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim dos Santos.

JDS: How’s it going?

MS: [cheers off-screen]

JDS: It’s nice to see you guys.

LM: Yeah, thanks for having us. We’re happy to be back and talking about the final season.

JDS: Yeah, and we have to sort of give a pre-warning that we haven’t really watched it in a while, so we aren’t really sure what season 8 is anymore.

LM: Yeah, I did, I refreshed myself on the, uh, episode thumbnails on Netflix, so at least I have like, a slight reminder.

JDS: Yeah and they spoil everything for you.

KC: No, just me.

[laughter]

KC: Things I will never be over: when Netflix marketing screws up that bad. Well, welcome back. Before we get started we are gonna do a little bit of housekeeping. As always, we have the livechat going for those of you who are watching live on YouTube. We have the hashtag for those of you who are watching live or listening later. That hashtag is #ABTVVoltron. If you’ve got something to say, throw it in the hashtag, throw it in the live chat, you may well get a shoutout. I will say that we do check the hashtag throughout the week, and it lasts longer than the livechat does, so art, links, fun stuff, throw it in there if you want it to be a little more permanent. And as always, we have our tavern of lions house rule: be nice or get out. We–[laser sound effect]–there we go. Yeah. Everyone has opinions. I firmly believe you can express your opinions in a respectful manner and if you find yourself unable to do that, you will be banned from the channel. No more Afterbuzz animation for you. Buh-bye. Most of you have been pretty dang good at that, which I appreciate. Keep it up and we’ll continue. Season 8, though, you guys.

MS: Oh my goodness.

KC: The series finale. What was releasing this last season like for you?

LM: It was…

JDS: Exhausting.

LM: Yeah. Releasing it was really easy because we were, like, out of, you know–

MS: It’s done!

LM: –out of work for, like, a month and we were like, [noncommittal noises]. We were relaxing, we were kind of like–things were nice and slow. Making it was a whole different scenario. This was where we really procrastinated a lot on a few things, like, we thought we had this beautiful idea that we’d have all this time at the end where there’s no new episodes coming up that we’d have to make and like, we’ll have all this time to, like, reboard all these things that needed to be reboarded and focus all this attention. And we had none of that time, and I don’t even know how that happened. I think what we forgot to realize was doing our regular producer duties takes the whole day, and the end of the day was when we did all of our storyboard stuff.

JDS: I think, I don’t know how the math worked in our head, but I think we assumed that, like, as soon as season 7 was done, we reverted back to being, like, storyboard artists or something, and then we’d just be like, “yeah, we’ll just, like, draw and stuff again.”

LM: Yeah, we’ll have all this time to just, like, make the finale the best it can be. Like, I remember us talking with Eugene, like, “Oh my god, Jean. Eugene, when we’re done with, like, this last batch of episodes can you imagine how much time.” And he’s like, “Yeah, it’s gonna be so great!” And then, like, there was none of that because we were still making the frickin’ show and finishing, like, episodes just in editing and in post.

JDS: Balancing act was still happening, you know, like three spinning plates at a time.

LM: One day, I’m gonna figure it out.

KC: Sending it in at 11:59 before it’s due.

JDS: We’re gonna be, like, 80-year-olds like, “We figured it out!” And they’re gonna be like, “What’s this crazy old person doing here trying to make a cartoon?”

KC: That’s what we’re all trying to do collectively. We’re making a cartoon.

JDS: That’s right.

KC: So you had a lot of story threads to bring together and resolve as well as a lot of new information to give us. Was there… was there anything that got lost in the shuffle? Was there anything you would have liked to emphasize a little more that there just wasn’t time for it?

JDS: A lot, I mean yeah. It-it’s tough. We had this massive Honerva backstory to sort of really set up and queue up, and-and we were able to do that a little bit, sort of, leading up, but season 8 was really our big push to-to get that all set up. I think, you know, that came at the cost of, like, I would have loved to have spent more time with the MFE pilots and sort of figure out what made them tick. And we got a little bit of that with, you know, like, “Day 47”, but…

LM: Yeah.

JDS: I don’t know. There was stuff like that, like incidental side characters that we just were-we were super fond of.

LM: Yeah, it’s one of those really tricky things about having a show this big. As you introduce all these characters, and we had all these great ideas of, like, they’re all gonna come into play in these many different ways. And-and so you would be, kind of, in the writers’ room with the writers, like, talking about all these things. And then slowly but surely as we needed to just kind of whittle it down and make it understandable and get the strongest points across, like, these little things would fall away and so suddenly you’d lose that-that kind of side character involvement. Like, we had this idea of, like, Slav was gonna kind of be, like, with them and figuring out all of these, like, crazy interreality traveling stuff and like he would know all the realities, he would know exactly where to go, he’ll be in the cockpit with them–

JDS: Right, right, right.

LM: –it’s gonna be crazy. And then we were like, “Oh, no. We need to just, like–do we really need Slav in the finale? Like–

KC: Yes you do.

LM: –with all the paladins? Like, we love him, but that might be a little awkward. So, uh, yeah. And honestly, just, like, the finale itself, just that last episode, like, we’ve always…

JDS: Yeah.

LM: With every finale we’ve done, um, in-in our three, like, big seasons, we–you know, Zarkon we consider to be one season, Lotor is the second season, and then this big, like, Sendak Earth/Honerva arc–each of those had a big finale and every time we would write that big finale and we would run out of time. Like, we would overwrite it and I would always try to say, like, “Guys, we need, like, at least an act of wrap-up.” And then for the big series finale, like, it would have been awesome to have an entire episode where we could just dedicate to, like, tying up loose ends, but you can’t do that. We-we wrote an episode and then we got notes like, “Hey, there’s only action in act 1, can we have action in act 2 and 3?” And we’re like, “No! No we can’t!” Like, like, we gotta wrap up 78 episodes! This isn’t just a, uh, a 26 episode wrap-up. This is a 78 episode wrap-up.

JDS: But when you-when you look at that final episode, it really is just the first act of, like, fight stuff and the rest is pretty much wrap-up. Uh, I mean, we were just saying to each other, we wished that the conversation in limbo almost could have had its own episode. How awesome would that have been to really, like, explore, deep-dive into Honerva’s POV and make that transition when she, you know, sort of decides to go along with Allura. Sell that. Uh, but, you sort of deal–

LM: It was–there’s a ton of stuff that just hit the-hit the, kinda, cutting room floor, storyboard-wise, just because we didn’t have the time and so we’re looking like, it’s a kids’ show technically still, even though we’re trying to make it more than that. You have a-a scene that’s basically an act long that’s just in a white floaty space with people talking about, like, you know–

JDS: Bigger emotional stuff

LM: Yeah. And, uh, you know, letting that go any longer than that is just like, “You can’t do it!”

KC: Yeah.

LM: “Kids are sleeping right now!”

JDS: No it’s, what’s interesting, though, is that it seems like we’re in a–I don’t know–sort of social situation now where those types of shows are becoming more and more of a reality. And we were on this, like, weird precipice where we were always working on shows that were pushing the boundaries, and maybe Voltron was on the tipping point. It seems like now animation is way–it’s broadening, like, every day, so hopefully we’ll be able to see more shows that can, like, lean in and get really, really character-centric and still have all the sci-fi, like, big action stuff to go along with it. Um,

LM: I was telling Joaquim how, you know, we were just talking about how during our time on Voltron we-we started in a very specific point in the industry where we were very used to working inside of our boys toys animation box and trying to push the boundaries. And those were literally the only jobs that were available to us because those were the only shows that studios had in animation and during our time on Voltron, like Castlevania came out and changed the landscape and now suddenly there’s all these studios. Netflix opened its own studio here. We were making a show through DreamWorks for Netflix and now, you know, we could have just gone straight to Netflix and made a show that was more geared towards, like, young adults and-and more, but that wasn’t available to us when we started.

JDS: We were, like, trying to, like, like, sneak it in the back door like “this is secretly a much deeper show, everybody.”

LM: But it’s exciting that–because that’s–it’s a reality that we didn’t know if it would ever be a thing because we were working on Korra and we would say to ourselves, like, “This is the last time we’re ever gonna get this chance, you guys.” Like, Korra is, like, a crazy creature where Nickelodeon knows they’re not making it for kids, it has no toy tie-in, has no consumer products tie-in, it’s just meant to be kind of an art project at the studio. And so it was allowed to be this very mature, different show for an audience that they didn’t really understand. And-and so when it was over we were like, “Alright, well, back to the old way.” Uh, you know, we were prepared for it and we, you know, we definitely had more of, like, a fun campy vibe to Voltron, but we still wanted to try to push those bigger themes–

JDS: I think we maximized as much of the, like, sort of pathos and-and sort of hero’s journey and sort of deep character introspective stuff as we could.

KC: Yeah.

JDS: But, you know, it’s-it’s funny too because it just seems, maybe even to ourselves, but it seemed like the lines got blurred even in how it was, uh, uh, received by the fandom and received by, even like, the media outlets. It was-it was sort of, like, on the cusp of being talked about, you know, with other shows that were way more mature like, “Oh, the Game of Thrones of it all” and it’s like “[hesitant honking noise].”

[laughter]

KC: “We didn’t kill that many pe–oh we did kill that many people. We ended reality!”

MS: [indistinct] way more people than Game of Thrones.

JDS: So we did. We did-we pushed the boundaries.

LM: Yeah, and we would–we’d find ourselves getting compared to shows that we were… like live-action shows where, like, “Oh, they should have done it like this,” and it’s like, “That, that would be awesome if that were an option at all–”

JDS: Right, right, right.

LM: “–in any way.” But, uh, us-us to consider our, like, little robot lion show being made, us trying to make this show for as many people as possible under the guidelines of a “boys toys” show, it’s never gonna be able to have, like, quite the ability to push farther that, like, a live-action, like Walking Dead on AMC that’s at 10 o’clock at night specifically for adults where you don’t have to worry about “how are my kids gonna do with this?”

KC: If your kids are watching Walking Dead, you have other problems.

MS: Either that or you’re the best parent in the world.

KC: Uh, disagree.

MS: Agree to disagree!

KC: Disagree!

MS: But was it that sort of desire to push the boundaries that, sort of, resulted in this climax where, “Yeah, we have the big action set piece leading up to it,” but ultimately the resolution is one that’s brought up from empathy and understanding.

JDS: I think so. And I think–I will say DreamWorks was incredibly patient with us with regards to us broaching a lot of these subjects. They were, you know, maybe still figuring things out in terms of how they would approach, you know, other topics that we can-we can get into a little later. But I would say the finale is almost–I don’t know, I don’t want to say unlike anything you would see in other like-minded shows, like, let’s say Transformers or Power Rangers or something that, like, Voltron was by outward appearances being compared to–but it was something, I think, really exciting for us to be able to explore because we did create villains and create heroes that worked within this very, kind of like, shades of gray spectrum. There was-there was-there was black, there was white, but we played in this really weird, morally-ambiguous zone a lot of the time and that was, I think it’s important for, kind of, audiences of every age group to see that.

LM: And, you know, we also came from working on shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Korra which very much pushed those boundaries as well, and were extremely groundbreaking for, you know, children’s programming and it was not something that was coming out of western animation. So, uh, I mean we, I would say we learned an insane amount from Mike and Bryan.

JDS: We just had to reverse-engineer that into the goofy cat lady. [Hosts laugh] You know what I mean? That was, like, that was our, like, little-little trick to the industry. It was like, “How do we do all that cool stuff that-that we were able to do in those shows and sort of cram it into this package?”

LM: Yeah, and honestly, like, a lot of it was just us knowing that our ability to, like, show everything on-screen, like, every type of representation we might have wanted to show. We might not get our way on everything, but at least through having these larger lessons we can-we can still push those messages of acceptance and of understanding and of, like, looking beyond. And you know, those are just important messages. I think, like, everyone kind of learns them in their life in their own way and, uh, I don’t know, like, I was such a little, like, asshole kid [Hosts laugh] that, like, I, like, didn’t understand empathy. I didn’t understand why people cried when they were happy, I was like, “Why would you cry when you’re happy? Like, you’re happy.” And then, of course, now I’m the woman who watched a T-Mobile commercial today and friggin’ cried, so–

JDS: I want to know what this commercial was.

LM: It was beautiful. I’ll describe it to you after because I don’t want to take time.

[Laughter]

LM: But uh–

KC: Advertising other brands, uh, [concerned noise].

LM: But uh, you know, there-there are things that come through, I think, life experience and through learning and our paladins had that, kind of, on steroids with their whole Voltron journey, so you know, to really show how that manifested and how they learn from it was… it’s important, and it-I think it’s just important for kids to see it, even if they’re not there in their life yet, to know when they get there they look back and, like, “Oh, I-I saw that, like–”

JDS: “I saw that happening to that character.”

KC: To be able to see it happen to someone else and someone that you’re invested in because, “Oh, it’s Lance! He’s my favorite!” and then you watch him grow from this brat to the right arm of Voltron. Yeah, actually I think this is a good point to start talking about character arcs in this season.

MS: I think so! Yeah!

KC: Let’s talk about Honerva. Let’s talk about this horrorterror! She’s-she is amazing and horrifying and not the villain I expected to make it to the very end. Here we are, I’m impressed.

JDS: Let me ask you, though, were you at all sympathetic to her and her, sort of, cause [indistinct]?

MS: 100%. Um, it-it’s so–she was one of the most fascinating characters to watch because once she gets her memory back and she realized–you know, contextually-speaking we as the audience find out who she is at the same time she does–uh, you, you slowly start to realize how much of this entire scenario she’s responsible for whether inadvertently or not. And so it’s so fascinating watch her refusal to take responsibility for her part in it but still desperately wanting that sym–you know, the human connections that she was denied. You know, human, so to speak.

JDS: Sure.

MS: Altean!

JDS: Altean.

KC: It’s telling that the perfect world that she found to slot herself into is the dimension where she died. [MS makes an agonized noise] Where-where this whole–

JDS: She was taken out of the equation?

KC: Yeah, it’s possible that it’s a dimension where the comet never happened because Voltron was obviously a surprise. The alliances were still there but the giant robots were, “You’ve brought this monster down upon us, what are you?”

JDS: Right.

KC: So it’s-it’s telling that that’s the perfect dimension that she found is the one where she died super early on.

MS: And correct me if I’m wrong, but her–to obtain the perfect world–she was also basically willing to kill infinite versions of her son and her husband in order to get what she deemed she was worthy of.

JDS: Well, I–that’s, and that’s sort of like the misdirected love, right? Like, she was in one hand looking for the acceptance and the love of family that she never had, but she was blind to everything else, all the other chaos that she was causing as a result. That to me is-is interesting. I feel, you know–

LM: Yeah. It’s an interesting character. It’s not necessarily, like, the most honorable by any means, but you know, characters, when you can understand why they want it but then you see them doing things that are absolutely unacceptable to get it, it’s like you know it’s wrong but you know, you can-can kind of understand–

JDS: We’re hearing crackle in our ears, everybody. [Hosts laugh] That might be me, I’m just gonna go ahead and put it on the floor.

MS: It’s probably mine.

KC: It’s–your phone case doesn’t like the table. It-it’s, no seriously, it’s super weird and I’m pretty sure it’s your phone case. Sorry, I was trying to do that silently so I didn’t interrupt you.

JDS: I was going to call attention to it, please carry on, sorry.

LM: Oh no, we were talking about Honerva, or something.

KC: Great podcasting.

LM: Yeah, there-there’s something really incredible, like, interesting to me about her, kind of victim mentality where she-she really won’t accept that, like, a lot of this is her fault. She just looks at, basically, like, she’s lost her whole life. She’s witnessed it not knowing that it was hers, realizing looking back on all the things she should have done differently, that she could have done differently and it’s kind of, you know, she’s kind of trying to point that blame. I was like, “Well, if I–the quintessence hadn’t, uh-duh-duh,” you know, she-she’ll turn it on everyone except her, even though she was right there, you know, kind of diving into this whole quintessence research and bringing this whole thing about.

KC: “It’s Voltron’s fault.”

[MS laughs]

JDS: But it was also cool, I think, you know, one of the things that I was really surprised of in the room–I don’t really remember how it came up–was the notion that when she shows up in this reality and then Voltron follows, they’re like, “Why have you brought this, like, demon monster to our world?” It’s a-it’s-it’s a-it’s a crazy, sort of, flip of the script where really, you know, Voltron was doing good, but in a lot of people’s eyes and it’s, you know, in a certain people’s eyes, it could be seen as–

LM: I mean, you wouldn’t know. You wouldn’t know any better.

JDS: –bringing chaos.

MS: Voltron was the robeast in that scenario.

JDS: That’s right!

MS: You know, it’s like, “Look at this giant monstrosity that’s gonna wreak havoc on our planet.”

KC: Because Honerva parked hers out back.

LM: She was smart enough to store it off-planet, wink wink.

JDS: And we were talking a little bit before this about, you know, how there’s this portion of the fandom that’s like, “How could you, like, justice for Lotor!” and-and where, you know, “where is his redemption” and “how could you kill him off?” and obviously, you know, we feel we’re coming from a point of, you know, he’s gone so far off the deep end that-that death was really the only, sort of, salvation that he had on some level. But it’s interesting that it was-it was Lotor in that reality, there was a version of Lotor that was, you know, unaffected and uncorrupted, and-and you know, doesn’t come from that-that kind of horrific background that our Lotor did that, uh, was in essence, kind of kicked off everything being turned on Honerva’s plans.

KC: Yeah.

MS: It really does highlight how a person’s, like, the circumstances that they find themselves in really do have an effect on the person they become.

JDS: Right.

KC: But it’s also a matter of choice. Like, this up–these awful, awful things happen to him, like there’s no question that Lotor would have turned out better had his parents been physically capable of empathy. They’re kind of zombies, so it’s an issue.

JDS: There’s nature versus nurture.

KC: That’s not the weirdest thing I’ve said today.

JDS: Aww.

KC: That’s not the weirdest thing I’ve said today. Um, but even after all that happened, he made the choice to go, “You know what? Fine! Violence it is!” And lean super hard into that curve, even while he was still going, “Oh no, I don’t want to mess with my Galra heritage. Oh no, I’d rather be an Altean. Oh no, this.” Like…

JDS: Right. And-and that’s–I think that noncleanliness of, like, where he fits in and, like, the villain category, or the hero category, or the character that’s going to be redeemed, or… That is an area that we like to play in and sometimes does not have the answers that everybody’s sort of hoping for, you know.

LM: We’d like to blur those lines, but sometimes, you know, the lines are blurred, therefore the fans have their own interpretations, but ultimately it’s a story, guys. And not everyone gets to have a happy ending in the story.

JDS: I will say he was beautiful.

[laughter]

JDS: He had beautiful hair.

KC: He did!

JDS: And him and Allura together look beautiful together.

MS: Mm-hmm!

KC: This is very true.

LM: Oh, you’re treading into some dangerous territory there, buddy.

JDS: But, you know, I will–that, you know, that isn’t from a story perspective, sort of, place to, uh–

LM: Yeah.

JDS: –to work back from if that makes sense.

KC: Yeah, but, you ever see those beautiful flowers and then you go to smell them and they smell like death itself? That’s kinda that.

JDS: Hell of a point.
MS: I still ship it, but no! It does not work within the framework of the narrative in any capacity.

JDS: Sure, sure.

KC: Look, there is a universe in which it happened and it was fine, this is not that universe.

MS: And that’s the–

JDS: And that’s the beauty of more–

MS: Multiverse stories! There’s an AU where it totally worked out and everyone was happy.

LM: Yes, and there’s comics to be written, fanfics, go crazy.

KC: Yeah.

MS: Yeah, well, and ultimately it’s the memory of what he was trying to do that brings Honerva around.

JDS: Exactly. Yeah. And so there was, there was goodness in him, like, you can’t-you can’t deny that. But, um, some actions are, you know, really your only way out.

KC: You kinda gotta–

JDS: From a story perspective is you gotta, you gotta kind of pay that ultimate price.

KC: Well, for Lotor there was some good in him, but uh, cool motive, still murder.

MS: So much murder!

KC: Lots and lots of murder!

JDS: Totally involved a ton of murder.

KC: Yeah, pretty sure all of the battery Alteans are super dead because I don’t think anyone else found that moon.

MS: Yeah!

JDS: Right.

MS: Talk to Bandor if you wanna hear about why Lotor doesn’t get a redemption arc.

[KC makes uncomfortable noises]

MS: I’m sure Romelle would love to hear your thoughts on that.

JDS: By the way, when that episode came out, and when we were getting, like, the recording, we couldn’t stop saying to each other, “Bandor! Bandor!” Like, we loved that read so much, like, and we love that name.

[Hosts laugh]

LM: Bandor.

JDS: Oh, Bandor.

MS: Well there were-there were a lot of fun–talking about that–there were a lot of fun references to the original series in this season. Like at the very beginning we actually have a clip from the original series playing.

KC: We did! “I don’t sound like that!” God bless Bex and their ability to sound like that.

JDS: Yeah.

LM: We, uh, we love the original show and we always had this silly idea because we played with so many different realities that, like, what if in our reality the show it’s, it’s technically live-action to them and it’s being made about them. And so it’s like, because here we are making a show that’s based on that show, and I was like, “Ooh, what if that show was based on our show?”

JDS: It’s super meta, it’s like inverse meta.

LM: It was just funny to us that, like, we could work it in. And we always wanted to work it in in some way just because, you know, we love it and we like to pay homage to it. But that, like, we-we joked about it and we actually had a few more references, like, in the episode. I ended up way super-overwriting that episode, so we cut a bunch of stuff, like, you know like the rookie writer mistake. Um, but, uh–

JDS: It was all gold, it was all gold. It just had to go.

LM: Yes.

[Hosts laugh]

LM: I paid him to say that.

MS: You have to kill your darlings.

KC: Yup.

LM: But, uh, there was a scene where they were gonna see, like, the Sven dies scene. Shiro wasn’t there, though, but like, Eddie was like, “Hunk and Keith were, like, at little viewing party with, like, Hunk’s family.” And uh, and then they see the scene, they’re like, “Wow, they’re really taking some liberties” like–

[laughter]

LM: “–they were making their own story about the paladins.” And it was just–

KC: There wasn’t a space hospital!

JDS: That’s right.

MS: I would have expired. I would not be here right now if that had happened because I would have died laughing.

KC: I would’ve been doing this show on my own this season.

JDS: There-there was a version of it.

LM: It never made it, it never even really made it past, like, the roughs and storyboard, ‘cuz again, like, I so overwrote that episode that we just started hacking stuff out.

JDS: There was also, Tim Hedrick did an amazing Pidge in the room and a lot of, like, us being so obsessed with him was just going like, “Waaaahhhh?” If ever something was, like, confusing he would just go “waaahhhhh”. Bring in more OG Pidge. Bex.

KC: Yeah, Bex’s ability to emulate that voice.

JDS: Oh, she nailed it.

KC: Oh yeah, they are just wonderful.

MS: They’re amazing.

LM: Yeah, we got to do that, we got to have the little nod to, like, Pidge’s outfit and Allura’s outfit that, like, kind of goes by real quick.

MS: Those are so fun.

KC: That was pretty great.

MS: That montage. And then we got Chip at the end, too! And Vehicle Voltron!

LM: I know! Like, we’re the biggest trolls ever, like, “here’s a show we’re never gonna make!”

KC: That and the epilogue about, “They made the next generation of Voltron!” and it’s like, “it’s happening. It’s happening!”

JDS: We queued it up real nicely for whoever wants to do it, by the way.

LM: Yeah, you know, if anyone wants to take that. But, uh, we, you know, I, so, I’m just gonna admit I never watched Vehicle Voltron.

JDS: How dare you.

KC: Same, I had to google what Chip was.

LM: But, uh, you know, like, I did my research. Like, there’s a cool idea to-idea to it there and-and my husband and I were originally recently watching Patlabor–how they call it, that’s what they call it on the thing–Patlabor.

JDS: That’s probably close.

LM: They call Labors. Patlabor was what we always called it, but they’re called Labors and it’s this, like, cop mech show and it’s really clever, like, it’s fun because they have mechs and they’re cops and they just, kind of, episode to episode do cop things. And I was like, “Well, if you’re gonna make a vehicle Voltron, you’ve got these three teams, they could basically be, like, cops in mechs.” And it would be a lot of fun.

MS: You just described my dream show, oh my god.

LM: But, uh, yeah, we queued it up and then-and Chip I just, I loved the idea, like, Pidge’s one goal in life, you know, going out into the world and seeing sentient AI, like to create one of her own and she’s doing it, like, with her brother and it’s this, like, nice bonding moment. And then the fact that Chip was, like, what, Pidge’s cousin or something?

JDS: Yeah, that’s right [indistinct].

MS: I think it was her brother. I believe it was brother in the loosest–it was really just–

JDS: I thought it was just cousin.

MS: It was–it might’ve been cousin.

KC: Well, I mean Sven had “a brother” that they found later on.

MS: It’s a little hard because they started cutting together different series to continue Voltron, so it’s hard to say.

LM: It just made a lot of sense that, you know, she would pursue that and that would be her passion. Technology is her passion. And then you’re with her family and then obviously being such a huge part of the Galaxy Garrison with Voltron, kind of, you know, taking itself out of the equation, they would then–

JDS: Sort of take up the mantle.

LM: Yeah, and then really–

JDS: I do think there’s a pitch, though, where Chip ends up taking over Earth as, like, a sentient AI and becomes the villain a thousand years later.

MS: And it’s the singularity!

LM: Hey man, I was just about to say, like, the dark version is that, like, the Voltron that Sam and-and everyone creates ultimately is, like, you know, the police and then they–yeah–they become the power-hungry, power-hungry Earth.

KC: And there’s a scrappy Galra resistance.

JDS: And they flip the script and become the good guys.

LM: There you go.

KC: Living long enough to see yourself become the villain.

MS: Oh my gosh, I love it.

KC: I don’t have time to get into how much I love this AU because we are gonna run out of time here in a hot second. I–there’s so much I want to talk about and I’m having such a hard time deciding things.

MS: Let’s talk about Allura.

KC: Oh, Allura. She had such a rough season. Incredibly well-telegraphed, very rough.

LM: For sure, I think, you know, we-we knew, like, coming down to it that with Honerva being the final villain, and basically we have two female Altean people who have had a very similar thing happen to them. They’ve lost their families, they’ve lost, like, the life they knew, and it’s just two very different ways of how they handled it.

JDS: That’s right. They’ve had very, in a weird way, similar circumstances and come-and approached it from very different angles.

LM: Yeah, it’s a storyline we wanted to originally do, kind of with Keith and Lotor back when, like, our kind of original story pitch where Shiro was gonna, kind of, exit the show, Keith was gonna be here, he was gonna stay with the team so he wouldn’t have jetted off and gone into the Blade of Marmora, and it was gonna be a big, like Lotor season where you got Lotor, half Altean and half Galra, Keith, half Galra, half human. And it’s like, you’ve got–

JDS: They sort of were–

LM: –yeah, the duality of those two and, like, how does it work out? And, you know, you see Lotor seems like the guy who has it all together in the beginning, but then ultimately Keith evolves and becomes a better person. So we got to play a little bit of that here with Allura and Honerva, who… very similar situations, but Allura going about it, like, the way that it’s-it’s painful to her. She did lose her entire family, she lost her planet, her home, and even now there’s-there’s a sense in the first episode where she realizes once this war ends, she might not even have, like, her Voltron family. It’s like, they have families–

JDS: They’re all gonna go on their ways.

LM: –like, “what are they gonna do? They don’t need me anymore.” And it’s this, kind of, very–it’s selfish in a way, but it’s beautiful because she can feel that way, but she’s not acting on it.

JDS: Right. She’s allowing herself to feel it, but she’s not acting on it.

LM: She’s not sabotaging the war effort to keep them, which, I would have loved to do that. That dark, sick, twisted version of, like, Allura sabotaging the war effort to keep her Voltron family, but, uh–

KC: There is a universe where that happens.

JDS: Yeah, sure.

LM: But uh, but yeah, it was just beautiful to kind of see how much she was willing to take onto herself

JDS: And at the end of the day, like, you know, we keep sort of using this term “boys toys show” because that’s sort of the reality of what we came into. We sort of were taking on this–this franchise that was very merchandise-based and trying to sell toys to young boys essentially. And at the end of the day it became this story, almost Allura’s story solely when you-when you really sort of, like, step back and look at it, but it was-it was this, sort of, face-off of two strong women that were approaching these problems from very different angles and who the heck would have known that that would have, you know, that would have been the–

LM: Yeah, we didn’t even really know it at the beginning.

JDS: We didn’t. We really didn’t. It evolved.

LM: But, but, yeah. It was nice. It was nice because when we-we told Kimberly, and of course she was sad and like, listen, we know it’s–we never–it’s never personal, we’re not like, “You know, I don’t like that Kimberly, let’s kill Allura.” It’s never that.

KC: At the very last minute.

LM: But it’s, like–

JDS: We also told Neil when–

LM: We told Neil, and we try to be kind and, like, let people know and so we let her know ahead of time and so she’s not just reading the script like, “What the hell?”

KC: “What?!”

LM: And she was sad, but we just let her know, like, “Listen, this is Allura’s story, like, she is literally the hero. She’s not dying to further another hero’s story, she is the hero. Like, this war ends with her.” And then I made her a completely, um, fake promise that I couldn’t really make her. But it–

JDS: I think I know what this fake promise is.

LM: Because I have no control over what they do with Voltron, but I was like, “Listen, if we do any more episodes, I’m bringing her back. We’re not–I’m not making this show without her.” But then, like, I have no control.

MS: But there’s no Voltron without Allura.

LM: I have no control after this point.

KC: Eight seasons, now we need a movie.

JDS: Honestly that the, sort of, post-credits thing was leaving that door open.

LM: Yeah.

JDS: The Lions taking off and seeing the, you know, Allura nebulae, I think, in our minds, it was sort of her quintessence coalescing and–

LM: Reforming. It’s, like, kind of coming back together, so you can do whatever you want with that, like–

JDS: Yeah, but it was–

KC: Have fun, guys!

JDS: Honestly it was-it was a door left open. Like, there’s nobody ever really dies in comics or animation.

LM: I mean, yeah. I feel like comics and animation and sci-fi in and of itself is a door left open.

JDS: Right, right, right.

LM: If the word sci-fi exists in a definition of your show, there is a door left open.

JDS: This was like one step back from the ending of Iron Giant. [hosts going “ohhh”] Like, we didn’t actually, like, show all the pieces going and the thing.

LM: Yeah, like there isn’t an Allura hand that’s just, like, crawling through space.

JDS: Yeah, there’s no hand, like, jumping through the snow.

MS: That would have been terrible! Oh my gosh. But yeah! I think there’s this misconception because Allura is a woman of color and so I think a lot of fans only looking at it superficially were like, “Oh, the woman of color was killed off.” And it’s, like, yeah, there is a trope of people of color dying to save the stupid white people around them, like I understand that trope. But the problem with that superficial interpretation is that they’re ignoring the fact that she’s the main character here.

JDS: Well, there’s that and also just to put it on the table, our original pitch was that they were all gonna die.

KC: Woah!

[Hosts scream and cackle]

JDS: And that got taken off the table.

KC: I love it!

LM: It’s teamwork! Voltron! And honestly, in my opinion, that would have been an easier, like, window to bring them back. If they all disappeared, you could pop them all back anytime and you got the team again. Easy-easy spinoff. But, uh–

JDS: Sorry if the board is blowing up.

KC: So it wouldn’t have been, like, literal bodies, it would have been just disappeared.

LM: Yeah.

KC: Okay.

JDS: We’re not showing, like–

KC: We’re not showing Lotor.

JDS: We showed, like, the melted, like, Lotor body, but–

LM: It would have been the same–

MS: Nobody’s getting Cronenberged in this scenario

KC: Except Lotor.

LM: –same scene except that we, you know, instead of Allura taking it upon herself, they all would have agreed to do it together and-and they would have gone in and essentially taken Voltron out of the equation.

JDS: Right.

LM: That was something we actually really believed for even from early on, we introduced this idea that Alfor had helped to create this thing, not realizing how dangerous it could be; kind of like, you know, the person who created the atom bomb, and, like, having that guilt. And so having Allura be part of the team that took Voltron out of the equation and now that weapon isn’t available to anyone, that was a big deal. We were told that was too sad.

[Hosts laugh]

KC: Uh, you broke chat. Alexis is in chat going, “rocking back and forth, broken”. Like, congratulations. Everyone, take a drink of your nonalcoholic beverage of choice.

MS: Oh that is-that is a line of gibberish that she typed.

KC: Oh yeah, no. Everyone’s just losing their noise, it’s great. I love it.

JDS: It was, you know, in a strange way I think, a beautiful sacrifice that Allura is allowed to make. And also really when you think about it, if it had to come down to any one person, she’s from, like, a logistical standpoint she’s the only one powerful enough and we’ve sort of through, you know, being a life-giver.

LM: So, we’ve had a lot of characters, like, who’ve been on, like, the death table. We’ve thrown them all out there at some point.

JDS: Right.

LM: But they all had to, kind of, get thrown out at a point in the story where it made sense that their death would have been worth it. Like, for Pidge, it would have been saving her family. Like if she had died to save her family. For Hunk, it would’ve been saving Earth, which almost happened. Um…

JDS: Hunk was, like, inches away.

[Hosts go “ohhh” and laugh]

LM: We got a yes, and then, like, you know, they were like, “Who’re you gonna replace him with?” And we were like, “A lady,” and then they said, “No.”

MS: Ohhhh.

KC: Would Romelle have been the pilot?

LM: It would have been, it was gonna be Acxa. Yeah, it was gonna be a redemption arc that takes place over this last season of, “It’s not about who you were, it’s about who you are,” and the fact that she’s done some bad things. But she truly believes in doing the right thing and moving forward and she could have been a viable part of that team.

JDS: But I-I also would argue that, like, there’s no–there wouldn’t have been enough time, I think, for everybody to, like, absorb that. If we had, like, a three season run at, like, bringing her in, getting her settled, and then having her, that would have made more sense.

LM: Yeah, that was a hesitation.

JDS: But Hunk’s was especially tragic, like, it was the moment where they were gonna–where they were taking robeast up and there was, like, that ticking time-bomb going off. He literally sees his family, but he’s never actually, like, interacted with them. So he only gets to look at them and see that they’re alive, and then he’s like, “I gotta get this thing out of here.” Sorry everybody!

LM: But he didn’t die! We didn’t kill anyone.

MS: And speaking of dark storylines, princesspony in the hashtag did some fanart of evil Chip.

JDS: Oh wow!

[laughter]

KC: They are very fast.

LM: World domination.

MS: Check out the hashtag #ABTVVoltron to check that out, it makes me very happy.

JDS: Are there red glowing eyes?

MS: No, it’s black and white, but he does look very happy.

LM: But Allura’s death was the only one that made sense from a power standpoint and even from a story standpoint that we were setting up with Honerva. And then also just on–I know, like, it’s probably gonna be highly contested–but on a feminist level from my standpoint, the-the man is always the one who gets to be the hero. Like Armageddon, Bruce Willis sacrifices himself to send, you know, friggin’ Ben Affleck back. And if-if basically Keith had gone like, “I’ll do it,” and then, you know, Allura had to stand on the sidelines and say, “Good thing Keith saved the day! I’m happy!” Like no. I want my women to be able to save the day, too, and even if it’s about making that ultimate sacrifice, if people want to interpret that as sexist, then that’s fine. But we’re just gonna have to agree to disagree.

KC: I mean, Keith tried to do the heroic sacrifice at one point and it didn’t work.

MS: They went, and you guys went, “No! Don’t do that!”

KC: Lotor was just like, “Excuse me.”

LM: We tried to kill Keith, though.

MS: This was–

LM: That’s not a lie.

MS: You guys apparently tried to kill everyone!

LM: We did. It was because we were told we couldn’t kill Shiro. Like, well, we don’t need two leaders, we’ll kill Keith. And they said, “You can’t do that.”

[Hosts laughing and sputtering]

JDS: Also by the way, we’re not kill-happy people. We’re not. We don’t kill for the sake of killing, like, there’s something–it’s a journey and there’s something meaningful, I think, to everybody’s death. And-and so when you even look at, like, melted Lotor corpse. Like, he basically had done to him what he had done to so many other people, so there’s, like, a sort of a give and a take there.

MS: And like a show where–I don’t want to rag on any other shows that skirt around death or anything like that, because again, they are writing for certain demographics–but I always appreciate when shows have, you know, actions have consequences. And sometimes character death is a really good way of conveying that. And I think for a lot of other people, people forget that Allura in season 1 is the same character that picked up Shiro, threw him out of a room right as the doors were closing, and basically could have died in that moment. She was sacrificing herself, so it’s not like this is out of character for her.

LM: Yeah, and Coran said, like, 15 different times, like, you know, “What about the risks? You could-you could not come back from this. If you give all your quintessence to the balmera, if you give all your quintessence to making this gigantic wormhole to transport Zarkon’s ship.”

JDS: “If you take the darkness into yourself.”

LM: And every time, she would say, like, “I know the risks.”

KC: Yolo.

[laughter]

MS: Until she walks into the west with the other elves.

KC: Or into the void with Honerva. I love that she had to do a hard reset on Honerva’s brain and then we could fix things. Like, she’s the only one that would have been able to do that in any capacity.

LM: Yeah.

JDS: Yeah, and it’s allowing Honerva to maybe experience the consequences that came as a result of her actions and really understand what those–

LM: It’s allowing her to get past, like, the cloud of all of the pain she’s felt, realize, like, remember the good things because sometimes you can get so bogged down with the negativity that you can forget what it was that you loved about a thing in the first place. And she was Altean and she loved discovery, she loved knowledge, and she-she reached out with Alfor and she helped multiple people before, you know, they started this quintessence project that kind of messed everything up. So she just kind of had to show–

JDS: She had hopes, she had dreams, she had heart.

LM: Yeah. At one point.

JDS: [quietly] At one point.

KC: Is there anything else that you–’cuz we’re hitting the end of our time–is there anything else you guys want to touch on now or should we save a few things for next week?

JDS: Uh, yeah, I mean, you know, look, we, I think, Lauren made a really good point in that, you know, sometimes you sort of lose sight of the good things for, you know, some of the negative things. We’d only hope that, you know, the sort of big post-mortem from the fandom at large– even those that are super unhappy with the way season 8 turned out–sort of looks back on the series with positive feelings because I think there’s, while feelings might get hurt and feelings might–people might feel betrayed by, like, story decisions, like, the show was made with nothing but, like, love and good intentions and positivity and yes we told some hard stories to tell and characters came to certain conclusions that weren’t, like, the most popular decisions, but we were just trying to tell a story that, like, looked beyond the campiness and beyond the colorful robotic silliness to tell something that felt a bit more true and a bit more real and had, as one of our execs would always say, stakes and consequences.

LM: No, stakes and urgent stakes.

JDS: Stakes and urgent stakes.

LM: That was gonna be a restaurant.

KC: That’s one of Vrepit Sal’s new chains. It’s part of Hunk’s food empire. “Steaks and Urgency.”

JDS: But we can, you know, leave all the other stuff for our other show.

LM: Good times.

MS: Yeah, and princesspony has made a new version that’s got red eyes.

JDS: Ah! Red eyes! Red evil eyes!

KC: You asked for red eyes and in-chat they went, “I’ll add red eyes!” All for the red eyes. Well, yeah, thank you for joining us this week. This has been absolutely lovely. Are there any other projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?

JDS: No.

KC: Okay! NDAs it is!

LM: I am working on getting my floors re-done, and I’m getting the popcorn scraped off my ceilings, which is a lot more expensive than I realized it was gonna be. And-and moving all of my crap out of the house so that these people can do this work and that is a hell of a project that I would not wish on anyone.

JDS: And I just took a week off with my wife to Marie Kondo our entire house.

KC: Dang!

MS: Nice!

JDS: She didn’t come over or anything, but we definitely–

LM: Did you actually put it all in a pile?

JDS: She did with her clothes, and it was pretty epic, like, my pile went to your sister to eBay off, so that was. And my pile of toys.

LM: Oh, right, right.

JDS: Her sister is a sweet human being and like, will like, yeah. During the course of Voltron, during the production, like, super weighty dark times, I would just go on, like, eBay and be like, “buy, buy, buy, buy” and a pile of toys stacked up behind me that I never opened up.

LM: Yeah, me too. We had a cardboard box fort.

JDS: Yeah.

KC: Oh, goodness.

LM: And then he had a kid and said, “Oh no, I don’t need all this stuff.”

KC: And return to sender.

JDS: Yeah.

KC: Sounds fun.

MS: eBay.

KC: Where can the people go on social media if they would like to keep up with you?

LM: Um, all of the same places: @artofLaurenM on Twitter, @thebestlaurenmontgomery on Instagram, though I will say the Voltron posts are kind of over at this point. So maybe don’t follow me now if you’re just coming for Voltron. You’ll probably be a little disappointed.

JDS: Same for me. Um, @jds_247 on something and @jds_77 on the other thing. There you go. Underscore in between those. Sorry.

KC: So I’m gonna follow you guys now for Voltron. [laughter] No, no!

JDS: That’s fine!

LM: But if you like any of my other artwork, you’re more than welcome to stay.

KC: I like all of your other artwork.

MS: It’s so pretty!

KC: Alright, thanks again for coming, you guys.

JDS: Thanks for having us, you guys have been awesome this entire time.

LM: And we’ll be back next week.

JDS: That’s right.

KC: Yes we will! I was gonna save that announcement for a little bit. Uh, Megan, where can people find you?

MS: You guys can follow me on Instagram and Twitter at @themenguin. I was gonna say, I wanted to give a quick shoutout to Mark and Emma and Alexis who all were wearing the hashtag tonight. We miss you guys and we love you and we’ll be seeing you soon!

KC: And on the live chat in Alexis’ case.

MS: Love you, Alexis!

KC: You can follow yellow lion Mark Donica at @MarkBDonica, co-red lion Emma Fyffe at @EmmaFyffe, and blue Lauren–blue Lauren–blue lion [unintelligible]. I am Katie Cullen, you can follow me all over the social medias as well as on YouTube and Twitch at kiaxet, I am also on Overwatch podcast called “On the Point”. Guys, we will be back for the final episode of ABTV Voltron. Next week we are doing a series retrospective. Same lion time, same lion channel, thank you so much for watching and we’ll see you next time.

Voiceover: Our founder: Keven Undergaro and me, Megan Menounos, would like to thank you for tuning in to Afterbuzz TV. Remember, we’re not just the first, we’re the biggest in the world and we’re the only destination for all your favorite TV shows. Whatever you crave, we’ve got it, so go to afterbuzztv.com and check out our lineup. Buzz you later!

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